Stocks have plummeted, businesses are closing and consumer confidence is at an all-time low.
How has the financial crisis affected the cigar industry in New York City? Different retailers have different reports.
Barclay-Rex on Broad Street, located a block and a half from the New York Stock Exchange, is the largest cigar shop in the Big Apple's financial district, attracting a very large financial clientele. Despite the economic turmoil, customers are still smoking, but they're buying less. "Our financial guys still come in every day, but our customers in general are not buying as much. They're not buying quite as many cigars, or the cigars they're choosing are less expensive," said Pat Gargano, general manager for the store.
Michael Herklots, general manager for both Davidoff of Geneva stores in New York, says his financial clients have somewhat changed their buying habits. "The resounding theme of the financial crisis is discretion, as far as perception is concerned," said Herklots. "My financial guys are still buying, but they don't want to appear as though they are celebrating when things are going so badly, so they don't buy quite as much in terms of very expensive cigars. The majority of my other customers are buying cigars to smoke immediately, so there hasn't been much change in the cigar sales. There are definitely less people buying $15,000 humidors. Our mid-level accessories are still selling well, though."
The Upper East Side serves as a home for all types of New Yorkers, including many in the financial industry, as droves of Wall Street workers who trade by day downtown retire uptown to this upscale, residential section.
The Cigar Inn is the local neighborhood tobacconist, located on First Avenue between 70th and 71st streets. Co-owner Billy Fakih has seen a notable decline in sales.
"The financial crisis has affected basically every part of the store," he said, "from accessories to cigars. People are spending less and the guys you used to see every day, now you see twice a week." Fakih says cigar sales have declined by 50 percent and accessories by 75 percent. The sharp downturn began in September, right after the announcement of American International Group's collapse.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Source: Cigar Aficionado